Trump Shifts Stance, Defends TikTok, Blasts Facebook as 'Public Enemy'

Former President Trump shares unexpected views on social media.

by Nouman Rasool
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Trump Shifts Stance, Defends TikTok, Blasts Facebook as 'Public Enemy'
© Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump, known for his initial aggressive stance towards banning TikTok during his term, has made a surprising pivot, cautioning against the prohibition of the widely popular app. In a recent discussion on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Trump articulated his concerns, suggesting that banning TikTok might inadvertently bolster Facebook, a platform he criticizes as "an enemy of the people." Trump highlighted the mixed implications of TikTok's presence, owned by the Chinese enterprise ByteDance, acknowledging, "There's a lot of good and there's a lot of bad with TikTok." He expressed his apprehension about enhancing Facebook's dominance in the social media landscape, stating, "I'm not looking to make Facebook double the size.

I think Facebook has been very bad for our country." This commentary emerges as the House moves to deliberate on a bill aiming to compel ByteDance to divest TikTok within a six-month frame. Failure to comply would lead to TikTok's exclusion from U.S.

app stores and websites, spurred by national security worries concerning the Chinese government's potential misuse of ByteDance to gather data on millions of American users, which could be exploited to disseminate propaganda or manipulate narratives on sensitive topics.

TikTok Ban Consequences

Trump acknowledged the security and privacy issues surrounding TikTok but emphasized its popularity, particularly among younger demographics, cautioning against the adverse effects of a ban on its fervent user base.

The debate over TikTok's future in the U.S. is intensifying, with the platform itself rallying its community. A recent push notification from TikTok encouraged users to voice opposition to a potential shutdown, linking them to resources for contacting their congressional representatives—a move that reportedly led to a surge in calls to lawmakers, predominantly from younger constituents.

Trump's critique of Facebook (now Meta) is longstanding, citing perceived bias against him and critiquing the platform's role in political discourse. His contentious relationship with Meta was highlighted by a two-year suspension following his claims about the 2020 election, a ban that has since been lifted, allowing him and his campaign to resume fundraising activities on the platform.

In a broader context, Trump's past efforts to ban TikTok cited national security risks, including concerns over data privacy and potential espionage. Despite these earlier actions, Trump revealed a recent meeting with ByteDance investor Jeff Yass, clarifying that TikTok was not discussed.

As President Joe Biden indicates readiness to sign the proposed legislation against TikTok, the unfolding situation underscores complex debates surrounding technology, free speech, and national security, with significant implications for U.S.-China relations and the global social media landscape.

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